2023 Track to the Title: Chris Dyson, TA Champion
December 22, 2023
Chris Dyson in the No. 16 GYM WEED Ford Mustang clinched his third consecutive TA championship following another remarkable season in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. With four wins and nine podium finishes, Dyson dominated his class and cemented himself amongst Trans Am’s most successful competitors.
Dyson’s 2023 season started with uncharacteristic struggles, with a power failure relegating him to a 10th-place finish in the season opener at Sebring International Raceway. However, it was still a successful day for the owner of CD Racing, which scored a 1-2 finish in the event with Matthew Brabham driving to victory and Adam Andretti finishing second in the team’s third entry.
Dyson bounced right back in the following round at NOLA Motorsports Park, earning his first win of the 2023 season after starting third. With Brabham finishing a close second, CD Racing earned its second-consecutive 1-2 finish. He followed that up with a win from the pole at Road Atlanta, the site of his first-career Trans Am win in 2018.
Now leading the point standings, Dyson scored runner-up finishes at Lime Rock Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway before returning to GYM WEED Winners Circle at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with his team scoring yet another 1-2 finish with Brabham, who fought his way through the field from an eighth-place starting berth.
“It was an absolute thrill racing with Justin [Marks], Boris [Said] and Matthew [Brabham] as he was coming up through the field,” said Dyson following the win. “I think we put on a great show for everyone out there. The No. 16 car was just amazing today. I was pretty disconsolate in qualifying, so I was really hoping it was going to be dry today because we were really good in the first test session. Good Lord willing, things worked out for us. I’m honestly so honored for the CD Racing guys to come out here and have some success. We’re putting together a nice championship campaign, and I’m really looking forward to going to Road America with the GYM WEED cars and staying up front.”
Following second-place finishes at both Road America and Watkins Glen International, Dyson earned his final win of 2023 in Trans Am’s inaugural visit to World Wide Technology Raceway with an overall victory in a rare combined race with the Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Coolers TA2 Series.
“We’ve had a season to remember here,” said Dyson. “We’ve had amazing race results and we’ve scored a lot of points and a lot of wins, but it’s been a lot of work along the way. I want to take my hat off to everybody here on the CD Racing team for making sure we had not just one, but two great racecars all the time. It’s been a hustle between switching cars and jumping around, and these guys have stepped up to every challenge we’ve given them. I’m excited about what’s coming at VIR. I’m hoping that we can take it down to the wire there.”
Dyson was able to clinch his title with a third-place finish at VIR, before closing out the 2023 season with a top-five finish at Circuit of The Americas. He collected his third-consecutive TA championship trophy at the year-end awards gala following the season finale.
“What a season,” said Dyson. “This year never felt comfortable from the beginning. It’s been a hard slog. We’ve had great results and the team has worked so hard. We’ve been changing cars and running around getting engines sorted out all year. I have to hand it to all the guys. It was just so great, because there were times when we really had to pull together this year. I also have to thank Matt Brabham for coming in and pitching in early on. He did a super job for us. This is just amazing. I’m thankful for my great partnership with GYM WEED and the Picketts. I’m so grateful that I’ve got my family here with me. We’re three-time champions. It hasn’t quite set in yet. I’m sure when it does, it’s going to be pretty special.”
Dyson’s third-consecutive title puts him in an elite class of drivers. Until now, only five drivers have won three or more championships in the TA class. Three of them (Tommy Kendall, Ernie Francis Jr., Paul Gentilozzi) have won four championships each, while Peter Gregg and Scott Pruett have each won three. Only two drivers in Trans Am history have won three or more consecutive titles: Ernie Francis Jr. with four in a row (2017-2020), and Tommy Kendall with three in a row (1995-1997). Dyson also sits fifth overall in the list of the TA class’s winningest drivers, with 23 career victories.
“It’s just been a great season,” said Dyson. “The team worked incredibly hard and I’m a reflection of their efforts. We get the glory, but the team behind me deserves just as much credit for the success. Nobody who drives in TA makes it easy, we definitely had strong competitors all year. I’m looking forward to coming back. The most important championship is the next one.”